Quarterbacks will throw Saturday at the 2018 NFL Combine. On Friday, their skills at the microphone were tested as they met with the media. Here are some of the top takeaways from what those young quarterbacks, one of whom could be the next franchise quarterback for the New York Giants, said.
Josh Allen “super-stoked” about Pat Shurmur
Allen, the rocket-armed Wyoming quarterback whose accuracy has been questioned, said it would be “fantastic” to sit behind Eli Manning and learn.
“I’ve seen Eli Manning at the Manning Passing Academy, he’s a super reserved guy that he knows his stuff. He’s won two Super Bowls. Beating Tom Brady, it’s a tough task, but he’s done it twice in the Super Bowl,” Allen said. “Knowing that organization has the mindset of winning, that’s what they want to do, would be a blessing if I got the opportunity to go there and sit behind him for one or two or even three years and just learn everything that I could.”
“Coach Shurmur is a super bright mind. I like him a lot,” Allen said. “I actually got the chance to talk to him in Mobile. Sat down with him for a little bit. He’s a really good dude. If I was fortunate enough to play under him, I’d be super stoked.”
Allen, along with Sam Darnold, has been working on his mechanics with quarterbacks guru Jordan Palmer. Can he answer the accuracy questions that have dogged him?
“Obviously I’m going to come out and throw tomorrow and hopefully I get to have a good showing at pro day, I plan on it. Hopefully that kind of eliminates some of the questions, but without live bullets and live action coming at you, we’re not going to find that out until game time situations, whether that be in mini-camp or any of those events leading up to the season,” Allen said. “But I’m extremely confident in myself and we’re working on it and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll figure it out.”
Josh Rosen ready to address personality questions
Rosen said he “absolutely” believes he could step in and play immediately at the NFL level. He knows, though, that if he lands with the Giants he will beexpected to sit behind Manning.
“A lot of questions I get from teams are basically, ‘What’s your goal at the end of Year 1? What are you trying to accomplish?’ My answer to that is to have my coach completely satisfied with what I’ve done. Whatever he asks me to do, I’m going to do that to the best of my ability,” Rosen said. “If he asks me to be a backup, I’m going to be the country’s best backup quarterback. I’m gonna support my starter through everything.
“It might be a rough relationship at the beginning because they see the dynamic, but I’m gonna do absolutely everything I can to help the team win. If they ask me to compete for the starting job, I’m gonna compete my butt off. Whatever the coach asks me to do, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.”
Rosen, of course, was asked how he would respond to the questions that have been raised about his personality.
“You address it here. I think that’s why all these interviews and meetings and visits are awesome, because teams actually get to know me and they don’t have to find out through third parties,” he said. “I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most at this combine is getting to know teams and maybe not running a 4.5, but everything. It’s an unbelievable experience. I remember watching, growing up, the Combine when I was in third or fourth or fifth grade. It’s cool to be a part of this. It’s really cool.”
Rosen’s ability to lead has also been question by some.
“First and foremost you have to play ball. You have to perform on the field in order to earn that initial respect. I think leadership is a very personal thing that there aren’t really any shortcuts to. It takes time to build relationships. You have to treat each individual individually. Some guys respond to a kick in the butt a little better. Some guys respond to encouragement or inspiration. Some guys get down on themselves, so you have to help them up a little bit,” Rosen said. “I don’t think leadership is — you have to lead in your own individual way. I’m not really a big rah-rah guy, and if I tried to be, I think my teammates would see through it. So it’s not about me, it’s about the team. So anything I can do as a leader to make the team better, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it on a person-by-person basis because that’s where it all starts, with relationships.”
Sam Darnold ready for the bright lights
Darnold is the only one of the top-tier quarterbacks who won’t throw Saturday in Indianapolis.
“I just felt it was the best decision for me,” he said. “Obviously I’m going to throw at my Pro Day. I think that’s a good oppy for teams to be able to look at how I can spin it. I’m going to be throwing to guys I’ve played with. I think given all the information I had, I thought that was the best decision.”
Darnold believes the bright lights of New York City wouldn’t faze him.
“I think being at USC has really prepared me. When I was the backup, I was actually third string when Cody Kessler was the starter at USC. Then Max Brown got the starting job at USC my red-shirt freshman year, and I thought during that process I was preparing every single day to be the starter, but also helping Max out. And me and Max were really good friends. So I think that helped me prepare, and also being in L.A., being at USC, has prepared me really well for the opportunity to go to a big stage like New York City,” Darnold said.
After throwing 13 interceptions and fumbling 12 times last season, Darnold knows he has to address the turnover question.
“I think just the question about the turnovers, not turning the ball over is something that I pride myself in. Honestly, I feel I let myself down and my teammates down during this last season when I turned the ball over so much,” Darnold said. “So that’s something that I need to continue to work on, and that’s the question that’s been coming up a lot. So I’m doing things to work on it. I’m doing things to keep two hands on the ball in the pocket. I’m working on decision making, watching my film from last year, watching all the turnovers from last year and the year before that. I’m working hard to try to improve myself every day. That’s all I can do and that’s all I’m doing.”
Baker Mayfield won’t settle for sitting
If the Giants select a quarterback, he will be expected to sit behind Manning. Mayfield said he is “not going to settle” for being a backup.
“First things first, whatever team I go to, I’m not going to settle for a backup job, I’ve never been like that and I never will, I’m going to push that person in front of me,” Mayfield said. “What it comes down is the best man’s going to win, I know that, but everybody has a role on the team and if you’re not pushing those guys around you to be better, you’re not doing it right.’’
Mayfield said he wants to show teams he is “ready to be a franchise guy.” To do that, he will have to convince them some of the incidents he has been involved in — both on and off the field — are things that won’t be repeated. He said Friday that he will be “honest” when talking to teams.
“Tell the true story. When I got tackled by the cops in Arkansas, I tell them a true story. When I talk about planting the flag at Ohio State I tell them a true story, about the fact that was an emotional win, that was one we worked for over a year for after they embarrassed us in our home stadium. And you want to talk about the Kansas thing, it’s about where you draw the line and being professional. If you want to be a franchise guy, there are certain things I can’t do, but I’m still going to be competitive and passionate. That’s gotten me to this point, so we talk about it, I’m up front about it,” Mayfield said.
Lamar Jackson declares that he is a quarterback
Jackson put the questions about working out as a wide receiver to bed. He said if anyone asks him to work out as a receiver “I’m not going to their team.”
“Whoever likes me at quarterback, that’s where I’m going,” Jackson said. “That’s strictly my position.
Jackson said all the talk about him needing to switch positions is “craxy.”
“You know. I thought I did a good job at quarterback! (SMILING) I thought I did! But hey, they say what they want to say. They’re going to build a story,” he said. “I’m here now. I’m at the combine. I’m happy to be here. I just have to show off my ability.”